London Snorkelling Team braced for the deep end of the Galway Arts Festival

Anyone perusing the Galway Arts Festival schedule would have been forgiven for raising an eyebrow on encountering the group charged with bringing the comedy programme to its finale. The London Snorkelling Team have been raising eyebrows for a while now, and not just for their name. This inventive ensemble have enjoyed a growing profile in recent months, playing festivals such as Latitude as well as renowned venues like London’s Roundhouse theatre to widespread critical acclaim. Their use of instruments such as the noog, farfisa, trombone, parabolic reflector, overhead projector, drums, saxophone, cavaquinho, coconut shells, baby bass, and horse combines to create a cocktail of music that has seen The Guardian brand them “as brilliant as they are hilarious”.

The group comprises four musicians, Tom Haines, Chris Branch, Ross Hughes, and Pascal Wyse, who are joined on stage at various intervals by a temperamental magician played by Perrier Award winner Will Adamsdale, a chemistry professor played by Ed Gaughan, and Jonjo O’Neil playing the part of a tap dancing security expert. The set is further embellished with live overhead projections from Tom and Mark Perret. The group are hopeful their first trip to Ireland will be a successful one, with Ed Gaughan’s Irish links leaving him confident the show will be appreciated. The Galway Advertiser caught up with Gaughan to discuss his Irish roots and his upcoming performance:

“I have family ties quite near Galway, my mum is from Ennistymon. I still get back there quite a bit as I have lots of family in the area. My uncle Richard Curran owns the chipper, the best in Ireland I must say, while my cousin Kieran owns a farm. I have not actually been in Galway in years but I am really looking forward to getting back there for the festival.

“Our show is a mixture of music and comedy. It is a spoof radio broadcast from a fictional island. We also have animation involved in the show, and with Irish parents I know Irish people are quite open minded so I hope the show will go down well.”

A friend of Chris Branch since their art college days, Gaughan was invited to join the Team in 2007, and has played a sterling part in their rise to national and international prominence. As well as being an accomplished comedian, he is a talented writer, actor, and musician. Just last year, he merged his comedic, writing and acting skills to star in the acclaimed British film Skeletons. Nominated for a BIFA and BAFTA awards, it won The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Gaughan also picked up a nomination for The Peter Sellers Award For Comedy at the London Evening Standard Awards 2011 for his role in the film.

With their style hard to place into any conventional bracket, it is hoped the multi dimensional nature of the Galway Arts Festival will prove an ideal launch pad for their profile on this side of the Irish sea. Gaughan also revealed the strong Irish influence on his own character in the show:

“I play a character called Dr Inshiquin, like a Clare name! It is funny we are coming to Ireland to do the show actually, because when I first played the character I used the Clare accent and it went well and stuck. So I hope people do not get the island mixed up with Ireland, it is entirely fictional. We are even bringing out a promotional film just to try and avoid confusion so that should be up on YouTube and the arts festival website fairly shortly.”

The London Snorkelling Team play in the Roisin Dubh on Sunday July 24 at 10pm. Tickets are available now at €12.50, or €10 with a concession.

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